Sunday, February 7, 2010
Moving Mountains Moving Bowels - Warrior Princess - Part Three
They pressed further, I must be missing something. Oh my God, it was the watermelon. I had begged the nurses to give her watermelon in spite of the fact it wasn't on the approved list of clear, bland foods. It's a fruit, I had implored, it practically dissolves in your mouth for Christ's sake AND she loves it, she will eat it. Please nurse Ratchet please, let her have some watermelon I had begged earlier that afternoon. Oh shit, fuck, damn. Did the watermelon cause this?
This was the preamble to the worst that was yet to come. I had showered. I was innocuous to the idea of complications. I felt clean and invigorated. We got through the pee - we had this thing well in hand and I was planning to sleep the sleep of angels that night. But clearly I fell victim to one of the world's classic blunders: never get involved a land war in Asia, never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line and never believe you are going to be okay based upon one good day post-op.
We spent that night with her shrieking in pain beyond the forbearance of a ruptured appendix, beyond the inconvenience and uncertainty of surgery and beyond the agony of that first walk or that first pee. It was a guttural, visceral cry for help, immediately followed by heaving a vile, brownish-black-unnatural looking substance, wiping her own mouth because I couldn't do it just right, then falling back to sleep for approximately 53 minutes, then repeat.
It was a wretched reiteration - pain, vomit, wipe, sleep. At some point in the middle of the night, her body decided to reject at both ends, causing the nurses to perform the infamous act of cleaning up a patient and changing their sheets without moving them out of the bed. It was astonishing. I watched but I'm still not exactly clear as to how they did it.
At approximately 3:00am, I asked the night shift nurse if they could give her something to ease the nausea. She said they did have options available but they required the surgeon's approval and they were tentative about waking him in the middle of the night unless it was an emergency. Excuse me? Exactly what the fuck do we have to do here to constitute an emergency? I told her I was prepared to go all Shirley MacLaine on her ass, running up and down the corridors, screaming for someone to give my daughter something to ease her pain. With that, she made the call, I know she did because I stood and watched her. Still, somehow we didn't receive any relief until the next morning.
We were visited by His Royal Highness, the surgeon, and his faithful minion a/k/a Physician's Assistant, Beth. The Warrior Princess was kind enough to provide them with a live demonstration of our evening's activities. They suspected an ileus was afoot, which loosely translated meant her bowels had stopped moving. I have always wondered why they call poo a bowel movement. Your intestinal track is sorta like a giant conveyor belt, it should be constantly moving in a squishing sort of motion. You can hear the movement through the stethoscope. If it stops moving, gas gets trapped up there, which loosely translated means farts ARE good. My mama was wrong.
We were told it could take anywhere from one to three days for things to start moving again. This was not uncommon due to the amount of infection she had in her belly. It was her body's way of fighting back by simply shutting down the systems and saying, "I've had enough of this shit......literally". Thankfully, she was back on track late the next day. You thought I was happy when she finally peed, imagine how elated I was to hear her rip off that first big fart.
The next day, as healing progress was finally availing itself to us, I received an unmarked brown manila envelope, the contents of which brought my emotional house of cards tumbling down around me. I ran to the restroom down the hall and collapsed into a heap on the floor, crying, screaming and shaking for the next thirty minutes.
(To be continued.....)